NICOLA Sturgeon has cleared up her position on controversial plans to open up a new oil field amid the climate crisis – by telling MSP that the proposals should not be given the green light.

Despite authority for approving new oil and gas permits being reserved to the UK Government, the First Minister has received a host of pressure to set out opposition to the move – seen as flying in the face of global efforts to tackle the climate emergency.

Ms Sturgeon has repeatedly called on the Prime Minister to “reassess” an application from Shell and Siccar Point Energy to open up an oil field at Cambo, near Shetland.

READ MORE: COP26: Calls for Sturgeon and Johnson to set date for ending oil and gas demand

Speaking in Holyrood, Labour net zero spokesperson, Monica Lennon, pressed the First Minister to categorically give her opposition to the plans, following COP26 being held in Glasgow.

Ms Lennon said: “If we are serious about averting climate catastrophe and accelerating towards a just transition for a green economy, Cambo cannot go ahead.

“There is no rigorous climate change test that Cambo can possibly pass.

“So the First Minister must do more than ask the UK Government to simply reassess the proposed oil field – time is running out.

“Will the First Minister oppose Cambo in the strongest possible terms and provide the political leadership that has been lacking?”

The First Minster stressed she has made her position on oil and gas “very clear”.

She added: “I don't think we can go on extracting new oil and gas forever - that's why we've moved away from the policy of maximum economic recovery.

“And I don't think we can go and continue to give the go ahead to new oil fields. So I don't think that Cambo should get the green light.”

But she stressed: “I am not the one taking that decision.”

Ms Sturgeon added: So I've set out a proposal for a climate assessment and I think the presumption would be the Cambo couldn't and shouldn't pass any rigorous climate assessment.

“If I had the power and Monica Lennon might want to join me in calling for the powers to be transferred to Scotland so that we can actually take these decisions.

“But given that it's somebody else that has the power, what I've done is set out a process by which a different decision could be arrived at.

“But as soon as Monica Lennon wants to argue that the power should be in her hands, she will find a willing ally in me.”

Scottish Conservative net zero spokesperson, Liam Kerr, claimed the First Minister has "fully abandoned Scotland's oil and gas industry" with her opposition to Cambo, insisting it was  “a desperate bid to please her Green coalition partners, egged on by Labour".

He added: “By refusing to back the Cambo development, the SNP have deserted the industry they once cited as the cornerstone of their economic case for independence.

“Only the Scottish Conservatives are resolute in standing up for the livelihoods of oil and gas workers in Scotland as we transition to net zero.”

Mr Kerr also told MSPs that oil and gas workers in the north east were “alarmed” that Ms Sturgeon is in talks with the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, set up by Denmark and Costa Rica, which is attempting to set a timetable for a phased winding down of fossil fuels.

READ MORE: COP26: Sturgeon confirms Scotland 'considering joining' alliance to end oil and gas use

Mr Kerr claimed that if the Scottish Government signed up to the alliance, it would signal “a rapid and dramatic shift away from UK oil and gas”.

He added: “Will the First Minister reassure them her discussions have finished in Scotland will not join and guarantee that her Government will ensure every possible job will transition and the industry's own drive to decarbonize will be harnessed before her government takes any decisions which could throw nearly 100,000 oil and gas jobs off a cliff edge?”

Chris Stark, the chief executive of the independent Climate Change Committee, told the Herald on Sunday that it would be useful for politicians to set a date for ending oil and gas demand – while Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland said doing so would prevent a cliff-edge for workers.

The First Minister said that “everybody across the world is talking about the need to accelerate our progress away from fossil fuels”.

She added: “But as soon as we start engaging with the detail of that what we have from the Scottish Conservatives is opposition.

“So we have to make sure the transition is just, it is this Government that is established already a £500 million just transition fund for the northeast and Moray to help with this. We must build up the renewable alternatives and the low carbon alternatives.

“We cannot escape the moral obligation to accelerate that progress and that is what the government is going to continue to do. And if we can learn from others, in alliances about how to do that, and if we can offer an expertise and experience in how to do that, then I think that's what any responsible government in this current situation facing the world would do.”


Scottish Greens climate spokesperson Mark Ruskell said he welcomed "this clarity from the First Minister".

He added: "She is absolutely right that expanding oil and gas is folly during the pressing climate crisis. That’s why with Greens in government Scotland is investing in the alternatives, expanding renewable energy and decarbonising homes and transport, creating new jobs along the way.

“It is also welcome that the First Minister recognises the leadershi shown by the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance. Scotland, too, can lead by example.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland's head of campaigns, Mary Church, said: "We welcome the First Minister's acknowledgement that there is no credible climate test that the Cambo oil field could ever pass. This is an important progression of the Scottish Government's position, which must now translate into clear opposition to all new fossil fuel projects.

"When you’re in a hole, you have to stop digging. To meet the 1.5C goal, we need to keep all fossil fuels safe in the ground.

"It’s time to turn rhetoric on just transition into action that ensures that people and communities working in oil and gas are at the heart of planning a fair and fast phase out, whilst scaling up renewable energy to help create decent green jobs.”

Greenpeace's Sam Chetan Welsh, added: “We welcome the First Minister showing leadership, listening to the science and saying no to the Cambo oil field, which has no place in the transition to Scotland's low carbon future.

"Hopefully this, on top of the many similar comments from scientists, energy experts and leaders around the globe, clarifies the situation for the Prime Minister. Scotland doesn’t want Cambo, and neither does the rest of the world."